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Briefing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: UBC BioProducts Institute’s Can-Mask Initiative

The UBC BioProduct Institute's biodegradable Can-Mask initiative recently caught the eye of Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. The Can-Mask is the first piece of personal protective equipment to be made entirely from B.C. wood fibres from sources such as pine, spruce, cedar and other softwoods. 

Using wood fibres allows for raw materials to be sourced within BC, building a robust and speedy supply chain that supports the heart of Canada's bioeconomy. The Can-Mask is able to support the BC forestry industry and supply masks to those in need during shortages, all while being environmentally friendly. 

Our plans are to make the Can-Mask available on campus and to explore the supply chain and manufacturing possibilities regionally and nationally. We see this as a new ecosystem that can teach us how to get bioproducts to market.

For this reason, beyond being a very useful and timely product, the Can-Mask is a concept that exemplifies what we have in store for the future green economy. I think we are on the cusp of something remarkable, as we revolutionize the nature of the materials we use to create everything from medical masks to take-out containers.

Media outlets are sharing our results which has led to many companies reaching out to us to work on wood-derived materials as substitutes for single-use plastics, next-generation textiles, composites and other more exotic applications that include antimicrobials and antivirals.

Therefore, COVID is a big challenge but possibly a Canadian win, one that is based on the sustainable use of our major resource, the forests. We are working hard to accelerate a positive impact on the environment and on the economy and drive UBC’s BioProducts Institute to become a global leader with industry and government partners in the area of bio-based materials.

Check out Justin Trudeau's Tweet: